Area home sales end 2010 on a high note

Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 12:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:38 p.m.

A roller coaster year for home and condominium sales ended on a high note in Gainesville with more sales in December than the same month in 2009 and with more sales overall for 2010, Florida Realtors reported Thursday.

Realtors sold 1,970 existing single-family homes in 2010 in the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area of Alachua and Gilchrist counties, an increase of 8 percent over the 1,828 sold in 2009. Median prices showed signs of bottoming out with a 4 percent drop from $168,700 to $161,700.

Local sales outpaced statewide growth of 5 percent, with 170,848 sales in Florida in 2010 compared with 162,873 in 2009. The statewide median dropped 4 percent, from $142,500 to $136,500.

Gainesville condo sales were up 20 percent for the year from 326 in 2009 to 391. The median price dropped 23 percent, from $119,100 to $91,400. Florida condo sales were up 29 percent over 2009 and 91 percent over 2008. The median price was down 15 percent from $108,000 in 2009 to $91,300.

Gia Arvin of Matchmaker Realty and president of the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors said she expects sales to increase gradually this year because the cost of buying now compares favorably to the cost of renting, because interest rates are low (4.71 percent in December), inventory is high and job gains are expected.

She said she expects prices to fluctuate — driven down by expected influxes of short sales and foreclosures, then rising as sales increase to buy those up.

December home sales in Gainesville were up 7 percent from the same period in 2009, from 169 to 181. That reversed the dramatic drop in year-over-year sales that followed dramatic increases when a tax rebate for new buyers ended. The median price was down 13 percent from $163,300 to $142,500.

December condo sales were up 71 percent in Gainesville, from 21 in December 2009 to 36, and the median price down 10 percent from $97,500 to $88,000.

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